How I Learned to Say "Yes!"
Loss changes a person. My son's death, at the age of five, changed me in many ways. Some of them are crummy, others are pretty great. One of my favorite ways that I have changed since Joel lost his fight to cancer is that I've learned to say "Yes!"
I used to worry about spoiling my children. What if I say yes too often and they become entitled and selfish? I chose times to say, "No," on purpose, so they could practice dealing with their disappointment. It felt like solid parenting. I could pat myself on the back while denying my children's requests for an extra bedtime story, or a trinket out of a quarter machine.
However my son's death taught me one lesson very clearly: life contains plenty of dissapointment already. I don't have to manufacture it. I can choose to say yes to my children, every time I possibly can, and they will still hear no often enough. They will ask for things I can't afford. We will run out of time. There will be circumstances I can't control. I can move mountains to say "Yes!" to my children and they will still have plenty of opportunities to practice their response to "No."
So I say yes way more often now. I change my schedule, give more rides, spend more money, and make more messes. I'm probably a little more exhausted. I'm sure that I am taken for granted. But I think that's what a mom should be: the tired woman no one thinks to thank, because her sacrificial love feels so natural to you that you never think to notice it.
There are still times I'm tempted to say no, even when I know I could make a way to say yes. Before the words leave my lips, I ask myself, "If Joel were here, now, if he were the one asking me, how far would I go to say yes to him?" There is no price I wouldn't pay to give that boy whatever he wanted. So I say yes, with great enthusiasm and just a touch of sadness for all the "Yeses" I will never get to say.